Millwood, VA, March 4, 2013

As Patient Safety Awareness Week begins, Global NGO Project HOPE says that educating health care providers about proper procedures for avoiding medical errors is vital in the developing world, where there has been a lack of awareness about the issue.

According to the World Health Organization, one in ten patients throughout the world is harmed while receiving hospital care due to avoidable medical errors.  And in developing countries, the risk of such errors can be twenty times greater than in developed countries.  The harm can be caused by a wide range of errors and adverse events.

 Czech Republic Nil Nocere – Saving Patients from Harm Program

Virginia-based Project HOPE, a global health education and humanitarian assistance organization, is taking action to improve patient safety around the world.  The organization has launched programs in recent years at sites in Asia and Eastern Europe to improve patient safety and raise awareness about the issue.

In China, Project HOPE began its efforts to improve patient safety at the Shanghai Children’s Medical Center, now a leading pediatric hospital.  The hospital’s labeling systems for medication and catheters have been changed to a simplified color-coded system, and the staff has been trained how to avoid a wide range of mistakes.  Project HOPE has created educational DVDS about patient safety in Mandarin, which currently play in waiting areas at the Shanghai Children’s Medical Center and are being distributed to hospitals throughout China.

“Our efforts to improve patient safety in China have already paid off,” said Lily Hsu, Project HOPE’s Director of Programs in Shanghai.  “With Project HOPE’s support, the Shanghai Children’s Medical Center transformed from a localized health care facility to become an internationally accredited hospital by the esteemed Joint Commission International in December, 2010.”

Project HOPE also recently became the first NGO to develop programs in China and India to raise awareness among health care providers and the public about the prevalence and dangers to patients of unsafe medicines, e.g. counterfeit medicines, medicines containing no active ingredients and medicines containing even dangerous ingredients.

Halfway around the world in the Czech Republic, Project HOPE has been helping 16 health institutions implement a blame-free adverse events reporting and learning system.  Participants in the program, which is called Nil Nocere – Saving Patients from Harm, identify and analyze risks, root causes and ways to prevent adverse events.  The Czech Republic-based program has already trained 64 health care professionals since it began in 2009 and is currently training an additional 60 health care professionals.

“Thanks to the successful implementation of the pilot Nil Nocere program and continuing requests for further education in the area of adverse events, the program  is continuing with official support from the Minister of Health himself,” said Helena Jungova, Project HOPE’s Country Director in Prague, Czech Republic.  “Project HOPE is so pleased to be able to contribute to improving the quality of health care in the Czech Republic and around the world.”

Patient Safety Awareness Week is an international education and awareness campaign for health care safety led by the National Patient Safety Foundation held every year during the first week of March.

About Project HOPE

Founded in 1958, Project HOPE (Health Opportunities for People Everywhere) is dedicated to providing lasting solutions to health crises, with the mission of helping people to help themselves.  Identifiable to many by the SS HOPE, the world’s first peacetime hospital ship, Project HOPE now conducts land-based medical training and health education programs in more than 35 countries across five continents.

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Geraldine Carroll              Tel. 540.257.3746    

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